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Author Topic: Winter bee life-span  (Read 3802 times)
ziffabeek
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« on: December 30, 2011, 12:53:44 PM »

Hello all!  Happy Holidays! I hope everyone had a joyous end of the year and happily celebrated whatever you celebrate!  Here's to a great 2012 for us all and our bees!

I have a winter-wondering question.  Winter bees generally have longer lifespan than summer bees, right?  3 months vs. 3-6 weeks or something like that.  My question is is the longer life physiological or is it due to clustering?  In other words,  do the bees live longer because they are not out flying around and wearing themselves out? Or are they somehow formed to live longer.

I ask because our weirdly warm winter has my ladies still flying on most days, and even bringing in pollen.  I doubt they are finding any nectar though, and they have consumed almost all of the dry sugar I put on top of the hive for emergency stores. (I plan on adding more, I think they still have some honey stores as the hives still have some weight, but it is going to be close).  My worry is that if the foraging does affect life span, and the queen is no longer laying (i observed very little brood on my last look in November), that my cluster won't be large enough when/if the cold of January  - February hit.

I realize there isn't anything I can do but watch and wait and I have already resigned myself that these 2 baby hives have a small chance of making it, but this is just one of the worries/wonders my experiment / chance taking has inspired.

What do you guys think?  Will the warm weather foraging reduce my numbers ?  Or will the winter bees still live longer and be able to cluster come the colder weather?

Thanks!

love,
ziffa
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L Daxon
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2011, 02:51:32 PM »

Ziffa,

There is at least one physiological difference I have read reagarding summer bees and winter bees.  Winter bees have more fat than summer bees.  Sorry.  I don't remember where I read that.

ld
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linda d
FRAMEshift
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« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2011, 03:23:06 PM »

Well, bees come with a 500 mile warranty on their wings.   evil  When they wear out, the bees are finished.  So yes, the more they fly the shorter the lifespan.  But after the winter solstice, the bees start making small amounts of brood again.  In Atlanta you will have some eggs being laid in January and lots of eggs laid in February. 

My bees are really flying today and are bringing in small amounts of pollen, so their efforts are not a total waste.  The weather should be colder next week but overall it looks like we are in for a very warm winter.  I'll be checking the dry sugar in January to make sure nobody is starving.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2011, 10:24:39 AM »

>In other words,  do the bees live longer because they are not out flying around and wearing themselves out? Or are they somehow formed to live longer.

Yes.  Both.  Winter bees have more fat bodies.  They also don't burn up their bodies flying and they don't let their organs atrophy as field bees do.

In Atalanta if they are flying and gathering pollen, and since it's past the winter solstice, they are probably rearing brood making young bees to replace the old ones...
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Michael Bush
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T Beek
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« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2012, 08:41:37 AM »

I've heard some old timers declare that they are nearly two different species. 

The subject of 'heater bees' in extreme climates is a great read and I've long wondered if southern bees have the same capability, or that they need a 'real' cold snap to kick such behavior in gear. 

I had bees leaving yellow polka-dots in the snow a few days ago when temps were in the low forties.  We are experiencing the warmest winter (after a record warm Fall) in recent history.

thomas
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ziffabeek
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2012, 12:45:08 PM »

Thanks everybody!

I guess I hadn't thought about them already raising brood, since I know that the coldest part of the winter is still ahead. I guess I thought they waited longer.

Wow.  If they make it, we are going to be very busy this spring.

Thank you again!  And FrameShift - I hope you are right about the warm winter, I am afraid of a late cold.  Got my fingers crossed. Smiley

love,
ziffa
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AliciaH
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 10:21:21 AM »

Oh, boy, Ziffa, you got me thinking, that's always a precarious situation!  Smiley

I remember reading/hearing/making up in my head, that winter bees are fed more royal jelly and that that's what gives them their longevity.

Now I'm going to have to look back through my stuff and see if I can find where I got that notion.
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deknow
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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 10:41:58 AM »

I think the biggest difference between "winter" and "summer" bees is that winter bees have not depleted themselves by nursing a round of brood.

deknow
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rdy-b
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 06:37:11 PM »

I think the biggest difference between "winter" and "summer" bees is that winter bees have not depleted themselves by nursing a round of brood.

deknow

yes but they feed other bees if protien reserves are low(they pass beemilk around)-it is important that your
colony has enough reserves in the hive -as not to let them Dip and become deficant in protien--

 http://scientificbeekeeping.com/the-economy-of-the-hive-part-2/

** I strongly recommend that the serious beekeeper read about the protein dynamics of the hive in a fascinating review by Schmickl and Crailsheim (2004), which is a free download. The authors detail how bees use jelly to distribute and share (or restrict), protein reserves in a colony through the process of trophallaxis (the exchange of food from bee to bee). This trophallactic sharing of food is the basis of the social structure of the colony. Indeed, newly-emerged bees beg for an inoculum of jelly and beneficial bacteria from nurse bees in order to prime their sterile gut.**

 
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 01:00:21 AM by rdy-b » Logged
BlueBee
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« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 06:44:50 PM »

I know of some people up here in the cold north with a little extra fat on them too, but I don’t think they’re going to live 4 times longer than the rest of us  Smiley  Maybe we need to figure out how those darn winter bees live so long.  Imagine Humans living to the ripe old age of 400! 
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T Beek
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2012, 10:01:22 AM »

Excellent point BlueBee, and it lends some credibility to some claims that summer and winter bees are very different indeed cool

thomas
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Finski
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« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2012, 12:03:00 PM »

I think the biggest difference between "winter" and "summer" bees is that winter bees have not depleted themselves by nursing a round of brood.

deknow

that is the order line, does the bee live over winter or  does it die before clustering.

There are researches  where hives have been feeded with ptotein to achieve a bigger winter cluster.  when compared to non feeded hives it revieled that the cluster did not become bigger. Feeders  died.

Then to long living. In Autumn bees need good pollen stores that they body becomes ready to stand winter. An emerged  bee eates several days to achieve the maturity. They dot not feed each other. Somebody must eate directly the pollen. Bees eate pollen during winter too and they  are very protein hungry after winter.

My winter bees emerge at the end of August, because there are no brood any mote in September.

Then they live up to May and they start to get willow pollen. At the end of May no wintered bees are alive.  In my climate winterbees live about  8 - 9  months.

i have had a big hive where winterbees emerged in July. When the queen failed to make mating flights for rains, the hive did not have brood in August but it survived normally over winter.

 
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Finski
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2012, 12:15:50 PM »

I've heard some old timers declare that they are nearly two different species.  


of course not.....you need not to believe everyting what old farts say.

If we compare mellifera to A.  ceranea. Ceranea keeps the cluster temperature 36C even in winter. Mellifera drops it down to 23C. The difference to save food stores during winter is huge.

Mellifera made an invention. It started to live in tree cavity which keeps the cluster warm in summer and in winter.

Ceranea's hive in open space and seldom choose a cavity for comb building.
Other species of Apis family make a single comb under a tree branch.  They move to better pastures when climate is unfavorable.

One funny thing is that mellifera ventilates off from entrance and ceranea ventilates towards into the hive. But as said, mostly ceranea hive has no entrance. It hangs in open air.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2012, 07:06:24 PM »

**They dot not feed each other**.


**the process of trophallaxis (the exchange of food from bee to bee). This trophallactic sharing of food is the basis of the social structure of the colony. Indeed, newly-emerged bees beg for an inoculum of jelly and beneficial bacteria from nurse bees in order to prime their sterile gut.**


finski get the cobwebs out-this is not something new--you must understand the wisdom of the Hive--
 walk towards the light- :loll:

** There are researches  where hives have been feeded with ptotein to achieve a bigger winter cluster.  when compared to non feeded hives it revieled that the cluster did not become bigger. Feeders  died.**

 please provide the group with the research so we can scrutinize-- cheesy
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Finski
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2012, 10:27:56 PM »

.
Rddbyy, you are again  on your ridiculous way.  you love mistakes. You do not see nothing else.  "when you have a hammer in your hand, every problem seems to be a nail".

They feed to each other but is it queen who eate pollen. Somebody must.
Stupid discusion level. 

Winter bee is a new species. Rdbeeyy. Why you did  not comment that  afro
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AliciaH
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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2012, 10:46:59 PM »

http://scientificbeekeeping.com/fat-bees-part-1/

Here is an excerpt:

"Fat bees and wintering

So the European honeybee, in adapting for the long winters of temperate climates, has figured out ways to store energy in the form of honey for the winter, and protein in the form of vitellogenin. This allowed the species to maintain a large social population year round, despite the vagaries of nectar and pollen flows. Amdam (2003) states: “the vitellogenin-to-jelly invention…made possible the establishment of a very simple and flexible ambient condition-driven mechanism for transforming a nurse bee into a bee with large enough protein and lipid stores to survive several months on honey only.” When broodrearing is curtailed in fall, the emerging workers tank up on pollen, and since they have no brood to feed, they store all that good food in their bodies, thus preparing themselves for a long life through the winter. These well-nourished, long-lived bees have been called “fat” bees (Sommerville 2005; Mussen 2007). Fat bees are chock-full of vitellogenin. Understanding the concept of fat bees is key to colony health, successful wintering, spring buildup, and honey production."

I am going to have to read the article again to better grasp some of the details, but this paragraph seemed to sum it all up pretty well.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2012, 10:51:31 PM »

**Winter bee is a new species. Rdbeeyy. Why you did  not comment that**

 new species--my god man--you found a new specie--  cheesy

 the point i was try to show is that it is possible for the colony to DIP in protein reserves
 that are stored in body fat-(winter bee & vitellogene--or do we have to go back to square one)
WITHOUT REARING ANY BROOD AT THAT TIME--much more going on inside the hive than average
beekeeper realizes-with that said i am surprised that this is news to you-----
with your extended period of confinement-this is EXACTLY what is going on with your bees
 towards the end of the extended confinement----protein reserves are at there LOWEST and there
 is NO BROOD BEING REARED--understanding this is a huge advancement for evaluating your hive
for your management decisions--RDY-B  

 http://scientificbeekeeping.com/the-economy-of-the-hive-part-2/
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Finski
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« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2012, 11:37:33 PM »

.
Rgyoo.

You use strange authors like Randy Oliver. He published his first letter 2006. Revolution among hobby beekeepers to meet a scientic beekeeper.

When i started 50 years ago, I read  about winter bees from a book "Modern beekeeping".
Have you born then?

Main secrets of winter bees has been revieled 60 years ago. Germans made researches about nutrition of bees, amino acids and so on.  60 years ago it was known that the more protein in bee body, the better wintering.

 Google is full of researches about bee wintering. You need not only invent the key words how to find the information.

And to you Rbdy, get a life.

Yes, I found a new species. I read it from Beemaster. So simple.
.

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Finski
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« Reply #18 on: January 05, 2012, 12:00:49 AM »

.
Dr de Groot published his profound results of bee nutrition year 1953. They have been made so well that results  are valid still now. Dr was born in Austria but made his main works in Germany.

Still now the amino acid studies are very expencive. 60 years ago analytics must have been quite difficult when compared to modern apparatus. There are quite few knowledge about pollen nutrition values of plant species, and the reason must be a huge price.

 It is not easier to make analytics from bees.
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rdy-b
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« Reply #19 on: January 05, 2012, 12:18:10 AM »

** He published his first letter 2006. Revolution among hobby beekeepers to meet a scientic beekeeper.**

 yes for a american bee journal-are you published  huh
finski he dose the recherché and compiles it for our benefit-the works of many are represented
by all means provide me with another source- Smiley if you can find one that puts the time and effort
for the needs of todays beekeeper i will consider it

**Have you born then?**
yes but no hive tool in hand- Wink


**60 years ago it was known that the more protein in bee body, the better wintering.**
yes yes yes-finally -thank-you -what took so long you are onboard- cheesy
 Wink
RDY-B
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